Ground broken on Midland Highway safety upgrades

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan with Wendouree MP Sharon Knight
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan with Wendouree MP Sharon Knight

Works on the $12 million State Government safety upgrade to the Midland Highway between Ballarat and Creswick have begun.

The stretch of road has been the site of 19 serious crashes in five years, with State Government identifying it as one of the twenty most dangerous arterial roads in Victoria. 

The works are expected to be completed by June 2019. 

VicRoads regional manager Mal Kersting said the works will result in road closures and disruptions as works roll out. 

“There will some interruption to traffic, we’ll try to keep it to an absolute minimum but there will be some disruption,” Mr Kersting said.

“Periodically traffic will be asked to slow down, or in some cases, be asked to divert or stopped for a short period of time.”

The safety improvements will include three new roundabouts, to be created at Millers Road, Cummins Road and Kennedys Road. 

Flexible safety barriers will be installed for 11 kilometres along both sides of the highway.

Three kilometres of wire barriers will run down the centre of the road near an existing overtaking lane running from Sulky Road through to White Hills Road in Creswick.

New overtaking lanes and wider road shoulders to be slated to be constructed, based on continuing community consultation.

“We try and optimize the amount of safety we can build in, and we considered more centre line barriers, but in some cases it’s more appropriate to put them on the outside than others,” Mr Kersting said. 

VicRoads first identified the stretch of the Midland Highway as a high risk road in 2015, before hosting discussions in August. 

Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said the barriers will ensure drivers don’t lose their lives if they make an error. 

“They are forgiving, so if people make mistakes and hit these barriers, they absorb the pressure and divert the individual from a potential accident they’re going to have,’ Mr Donnellan said. 

The upgrades to the road are part of a broader initiative, with 2000 kilometres of flexible barriers to be installed across the state.

TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said he was pleased by the development. 

“The sad reality is country people die on country roads, and the majority of road trauma happens in country Victoria,” Mr Calafiore said.

“Barriers are going up and lives are going to be saved.”